In Austin

    Life is gloriously good here in Austin, TX.

    I left for Austin late, late Thursday night (or rather early Friday morning) and then drove to Ft. Worth, TX. I slept at a roadside rest stop from about 4 a.m. until it got too hot to sleep in my car around 9:30 a.m. and head on South to Austin. Driving into Austin I was struck how much things seemed the same, yet how much things had changed too. Everything was so much more built up than I remembered (especially on the far North side up by Round Rock… aka yuppie suburban h**** with lots and lots of “big box” style stores and the like.) but Central Austin seemed to have not changed much (except for the new skyscraper under construction… not sure what I think of it. It certainly looks cool but I’m not so sure it fits in with the other buildings in the Austin skyline.)

    I got to Austin around 12:30 and came straight to my friend K’s house. They live in far South Austin (IMHO, the coolest part of Austin these days. Things are still reasonably cheap there since the yuppies haven’t taken over yet, and there are tons of neat little Tacquieras and Mom & Pop kind of places) and hung out there for the rest of the day on Friday and most of Saturday. Lots of good times talking about the good ol’ days and arguing about thelogy and politics.

    Then this evening I left to go to the wedding of my friends, Bill and Nicole at Hope Chapel. The wedding itself was wonderful! The sanctuary was PACKED with at least 400 people! (many of them old friends of mine from my days at Hope Chapel and at their sister church Hope in the City) They also had TWELVE groomsmen and TWELVE bridesmaids (more than I’ve ever seen at a wedding before).

    The ceremony itself was really neat. Jack Dorman (one of the elders at Hope Chapel and long-time worship leader) conducted the ceremony. I just love his humble way of speaking and the kindness he shows everyone that he knows. What I really liked about the ceremony the most was that Jack talked some about how that Bill & Nicole have committed their lives to service to God and to loving Jesus, and that they wanted to celebrate that love on this day. Then they had about 20 minutes of worship music conducted right then with a band and everything. By the end of that time half of the crowd was singing and lifting their hands up and just enjoying that moment in time.

    After the ceremony was over we all headed over to a local hotel for the reception. The reception was SO much fun. For the first half of the night they had a Mariachi band (Nicole is hispanic) and then the rest of the night they had live DJ’s for the dancing and food.

    I think the craziest thing was they had what they called “dollar dances” (I asked later and someone told me it was a Mexican tradition) where you gave a dollar bill (or a 5, 10, or 20) to either the bridesmaid or the best man, and then you got to dance with either the groom or the bride for a minute or so until they switched out to someone else. I have never seen anything like that before.

    I finally left at about 12 midnight completely wore out but feeling so good. I saw so many old friends, people I’ve known in good times and bad, who loved me during all kinds of crap even when I wasn’t the easiest guy in the world to get a long with. It was so, so good. (I even saw my old friend Sonia who I haven’t seen in years! I was so happy seeing her I almost cried.)

    I know life goes on and I do dig my life in Oklahoma, but I gotta say that being back in Austin with so many of my old friends was so wonderful. I know I’m using way too many superlatives but I can’t help it. It really was that good. Right now at this moment I’m already thinking about when I can move back to Austin… hehehe, of course life is far from perfect here either. It’s a whole lot harder to live autonomously here, with the high cost of living and everything. I definitely have a lot more freedom in Oklahoma, to be able to someday have a realistic dream of owning my own land and farming someday, but I do miss the community and support and love I felt in Austin. Oh well… I’ll enjoy Austin while I can and then go back home to enjoy Oklahoma for everything it is. It’s nice to visit where things were good once upon a time but you also have to live in the here and now today.